Internal documents from BP show that there were serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig far earlier than those the company described to Congress last week.
The problems involved the well casing and the blowout preventer, which are considered critical pieces in the chain of events that led to the disaster on the rig.
The documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of “well control.” And as far back as 11 months ago, it was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer.
On June 22, for example, BP engineers expressed concerns that the metal casing the company wanted to use might collapse under high pressure.
“This would certainly be a worst-case scenario,” Mark E. Hafle, a senior drilling engineer at BP, warned in an internal report. “However, I have seen it happen so know it can occur.”
The company went ahead with the casing, but only after getting special permission from BP colleagues because it violated the company’s safety policies and design standards. The internal reports do not explain why the company allowed for an exception.
"The BP president said yesterday that the company would survive. That’s like someone running over your dog and saying, ‘Don’t worry, my car is fine.’"
A United States judge has ruled a 12-year-old Calgary boy can return to Canada after being shuffled through a series of foster homes in Oregon for nearly two years.
Lisa Kirkman says her son Noah Kirkman, who was 10 years old at the time, was picked up by Oregon police for not wearing his bike helmet while on a summer vacation with his stepfather in 2008.
U.S. officials didn’t recognize Noah’s stepfather as a legal guardian, so the boy was sent to a foster home.
If you don’t understand the “his stepfather wasn’t a legal guardian, so they decided he would be better off with a total stranger” logic, keep reading – the boy was basically a hostage in an attempt to get his mother to travel to the US:
Kirkman believes the case was delayed because U.S. justice officials were hung up on the fact she has edited marijuana-related magazines and has a criminal record for growing medical marijuana for her husband.
The Vatican is planning a new initiative to reach out to atheists and agnostics in an attempt to improve the church’s relationship with non-believers. Pope Benedict XVI has ordered officials to create a new foundation where atheists will be encouraged to meet and debate with some of the Catholic Church’s top theologians.
The Vatican hopes to stage a series of debates in Paris next year. But militant non-believers hoping for a chance to set senior church figures straight about the existence of God are set to be disappointed: the church has warned that atheists with high public profiles such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens will not be invited.
So you’re welcome to listen to their arguments, as long as you don’t bring your own. I guess asking them about pederast priests is out of the question as well?
Sorry, guys, not good enough.
And later in the article they basically admit that it’s all just a ploy to get new converts:
“We, as believers, must have at heart even those people who consider themselves agnostics or atheists,” he said. “When we speak of a New Evangelization, these people are perhaps taken aback. They do not want to see themselves as an object of mission or to give up their freedom of thought and will. Yet the question of God remains present even for them, even if they cannot believe in the concrete nature of his concern for us.”
In a ruling this week, the Copyright Tribunal of Australia ruled that music is essential to fitness classes, and artists should be paid accordingly. The tribunal raised tariffs for playing original artists’ recordings to roughly 85 cents (A$1) per class participant—capped at about $13 per class—boosting the annual tab for the typical Australian fitness center from around $1,300 to more than $19,000.
It is being hailed as a victory for musicians by the record-industry funded Phonographic Performance Co. of Australia, which represents Sony Music, EMI, Universal and Warner in Australia and launched the case nearly five years ago. The PPCA recently won increased payments from nightclubs, too, and says it is now looking into proposing original-music tariffs for shopping malls and funeral parlors.
But gyms say they will fight back. Fitness First’s Australian outlets had already started playing cover versions that aren’t subject to performer royalties. Others are expected to follow.
Gallium’s atomic number is 31. It’s a blue-white metal first discovered in 1831, and has certain unusual properties, like a very low melting point and an unwillingness to oxidize, that make it useful as a coating for optical mirrors, a liquid seal in strongly heated apparatus, and a substitute for mercury in ultraviolet lamps. It’s also quite important in making the liquid-crystal displays used in flat-screen television sets and computer monitors.
As it happens, we are building a lot of flat-screen TV sets and computer monitors these days. Gallium is thought to make up 0.0015 percent of the Earth’s crust and there are no concentrated supplies of it. We get it by extracting it from zinc or aluminum ore or by smelting the dust of furnace flues. Dr. Reller says that by 2017 or so there’ll be none left to use. Indium, another endangered element—number 49 in the periodic table—is similar to gallium in many ways, has many of the same uses (plus some others—it’s a gasoline additive, for example, and a component of the control rods used in nuclear reactors) and is being consumed much faster than we are finding it. Dr. Reller gives it about another decade. Hafnium, element 72, is in only slightly better shape. There aren’t any hafnium mines around; it lurks hidden in minute quantities in minerals that contain zirconium, from which it is extracted by a complicated process that would take me three or four pages to explain. We use a lot of it in computer chips and, like indium, in the control rods of nuclear reactors, but the problem is that we don’t have a lot of it. Dr. Reller thinks it’ll be gone somewhere around 2017. Even zinc, commonplace old zinc that is alloyed with copper to make brass, and which the United States used for ordinary one-cent coins when copper was in short supply in World War II, has a Reller extinction date of 2037. (How does a novel called The Death of Brass grab you?)
Zinc was never rare. We mine millions of tons a year of it. But the supply is finite and the demand is infinite, and that’s bad news. Even copper, as I noted above, is deemed to be at risk. We humans move to and fro upon the earth, gobbling up everything in sight, and some things aren’t replaceable.
Two refineries owned by oil giant BP account for 97 percent of all flagrant violations found in the refining industry by government safety inspectors over the past three years, a Center for Public Integrity analysis shows. Most of BP’s citations were classified as “egregious willful” by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and reflect alleged violations of a rule designed to prevent catastrophic events at refineries.
As the latest effort to plug the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico meets with failure, the idea of nuking the immediate area to seal the oil underground is gaining steam among some energy experts and researchers.
One prominent energy expert known for predicting the oil price spike of 2008 says sending a small nuclear bomb down the leaking well is "probably the only thing we can do" to stop the leak.
It’s unclear how “energy expert” suddenly equates “deep-see drilling expert”…
On May 10th, 2010 ExxonMobile had an oil spill in Nigeria Delta. It is somewhere around the 16th worst oil spill in [wikipedia reported] world history, at 95,000 tonnes (696,350 barrels or 214,475,800 gallons). Nigeria’s agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. The US and Europe ignore it. Oil spills are a regular occurrence in Nigeria, about 300 a year, it is estimated over the past 50 years about 1.5 million tons have been dumped in the Delta, equivalent to the Gulf War oil spill (the largest spill on record) or 50+ Exxon Valdez.
From the BBC link:
Worse may be to come. One industry insider, who asked not to be named, said: “Major spills are likely to increase in the coming years as the industry strives to extract oil from increasingly remote and difficult terrains. Future supplies will be offshore, deeper and harder to work. When things go wrong, it will be harder to respond.”
Judith Kimerling, a professor of law and policy at the City University of New York and author of Amazon Crude, a book about oil development in Ecuador, said: “Spills, leaks and deliberate discharges are happening in oilfields all over the world and very few people seem to care.”
The Los Angeles Police Department has launched an internal investigation after one of its officers was caught on camera apparently kicking a cyclist during a protest against oil giant BP on Friday.
After being raped and impregnated by a fellow churchgoer more than twice her age, a 15-year-old Concord girl was forced by Trinity Baptist Church leaders to stand before the congregation to apologize before they helped whisk her out of state, according to the police.
While her pastor, Chuck Phelps, reported the alleged rape in 1997 to state youth officials, Concord police detectives were never able to find the victim. The victim said she was sent to another church member’s home in Colorado, where she was home-schooled and not allowed to have contact with others her age. It wasn’t until this past February that the victim, who is now 28, decided to come forward after reading about other similar cases, realizing for the first time it wasn’t her fault that she had been raped, she told the police.
The police arrested Ernest Willis, 51, of Gilford, last week in connection with the case, accusing him of raping the girl twice – once in the back seat of a car he was teaching her to drive in and again after showing up at her Concord home while her parents were away. He was charged with four felonies – two counts of rape and two counts of having sex with a minor, court records show.
The U.K. arm of the environmental group Greenpeace started a logo redesign contest for BP in the wake of the company’s massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The results? Predictably passive aggressive.
Here’s a slideshow of the proposed redesigns.
As we honor the LGBT Americans who have given so much to our Nation, let us remember that if one of us is unable to realize full equality, we all fall short of our founding principles. Our Nation draws its strength from our diversity, with each of us contributing to the greater whole. By affirming these rights and values, each American benefits from the further advancement of liberty and justice for all.
Across my Administration, openly LGBT employees are serving at every level.
Mark Agrast- Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legislative Affairs at the Department of Justice
Raul Alvillar- Congressional Relations Officer, Housing and Urban Development
Judy Applebaum- Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legislative Affairs at the Department of Justice
Cynthia Attwood- Member, Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
Vic Basile- Senior Counselor to the Director, Office of Personnel Management
Anthony Bernal- Scheduler, Office of Dr. Jill Biden
Jeremy Bernard- Director of White House and Congressional Affairs, National Endowment for the Humanities
John Berry- Director, Office of Personnel Management
Jeremy Bishop- Special Assistant to the Secretary, Office of Public Engagement at the Department of Labor
Brian Bond- Deputy Director, White House Office of Public Engagement
Raphael Bostic- Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research, Housing and Urban Development
Ebs Burnough- Deputy Social Secretary, Office of the First Lady
Michael Camunez- Assistant Secretary for Market Access and Compliance, Department of Commerce
Lyle Canceko- Deputy Director, Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Department of Commerce
Jamison Citron- Confidential Assistant, Office of White House Liaison, Department of Health and Human Services
Brook Colangelo- Chief Information Officer, White House Office of Administration
John Connor- Director, Office of White House Liaison at the Department of Commerce
John Coppola- Member of the National Museum and Library Services Board
Jeffrey Crowley- Director, Office of National AIDS Policy
Fred Davie- Member, President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
Justin DeJong- Deputy Press Secretary, Department of Agriculture
Marisa Demeo- Associate Judge, DC Superior Court
Jenny Durkan- U.S. Attorney, Western District of Washington
John Easton- Director, Institute of Education Sciences
Eric Fanning- Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy
Chai Feldblum- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Carl Fillichio- Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Labor for Public Affairs and Communications
Daniel Gordon- Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy, OMB
Kathy Greenlee- Assistant Secretary, Administration on Aging, Department of Health and Human Services
Steve Gunderson- Member, President’s Commission on White House Fellows
David Hansell- Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, Administration for Children and Families
Emily Hewitt- Chief Justice, U.S. Court of Federal Claims
Jennifer Ho- Deputy Director, Accountability Management at the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
Fred Hochberg- Chairman, U.S. Export-Import Bank
David Huebner- U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand
Glenda Humiston- State Director for Rural Development in California
Shin Inouye- Director, Specialty Media
John Isa- Deputy Executive Director, Federal Office of Compliance
Karine Jean-Pierre- Regional Director, Office of Political Affairs
Kevin Jennings- Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools
Kristina Johnson- Under Secretary, Department of Energy
Jenn Jones- Special Assistant, Department of Housing and Urban Development
Elaine Kaplan- General Counsel, Office of Personnel Management
Brad Kiley- Director, White House Office of Management and Administration
Harry Knox- Member, President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
Kei Koizumi- Assistant Director for Federal Research and Development, Office of Science and Technology Policy
Andy Lee- Chief of Staff, Office of Innovation and Improvement at the Department of Education
Jeffrey Lerner- Regional Director, Office of Political Affairs
Sara Lipscomb- General Counsel, Small Business Administration
Zach Liscow- Staff Economist, Council of Economic Advisers
Thomas Lopach- Senior Vice President, Congressional Affairs, U.S. Export-Import Bank
Sharon Lubinski- U.S. Marshall
John Marble- Public Affairs Specialist, Office of Personnel Management
Jeffrey Marburg-Goodman- Special Counsel to the USAID Administrator
Mercedes Marquez- Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, Department of Housing and Urban Development
Kathy Martinez- Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy, Department of Labor
Michael Martinez- Special Assistant, National Resources Conservation Division, USDA
Mary Beth Maxwell- Senior Advisor, Department of Labor
Philip McNamara- Executive Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
David Medina- Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the First Lady
David Mills- Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement, Department of Commerce
Alison Nathan- Associate Counsel to the President, White House Counsels Office
Jeffrey Neal- Chief Human Capital Officer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Ven Neralla- Director of Priority Placement, Presidential Personnel
Dave Noble- White House Liaison, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Matt Nosanchuk- Senior Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Department of Justice
Dylan Orr- Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy
Joseph Palacios- Board of Visitors for WHINSEC
Paolo Palugod- Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, DOJ
Peter Pappas- Chief Communications Officer for the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Department of Commerce
Raul Perea-Henze- Assistant Secretary of Policy and Planning, Department of Veterans Affairs
Drew Perraut- Policy Analyst, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB
Mark Perriello- Director of Priority Placement, Presidential Personnel
Gautam Raghavan- Deputy White House Liaison at the Department of Defense
Peter Roehrig- Special Assistant, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Constance L. Rogers- Deputy Solicitor for Energy and Mineral Resources at Interior
Donna Ryu- U.S. Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
Ellie Sue Schafer- Director, White House Visitors Office
Tarak Shah- White House Council on Environmental Quality
Amanda Simpson- Senior Technical Advisor to the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security
Richard Sorian- Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, HHS
Campbell Spencer- Regional Director, Office of Political Affairs
Everette Stubbs- Deputy Director, White House Visitors Center
Nancy Sutley- Chair, White House Council on Environmental Quality
Jonathan Swain- Assistant Administrator, Small Business Administration
Kenneth Tolson- Member, President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Moe Vela- Director of Operations, Office of the Vice President
Alex Wagner- Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs
Douglas B. Wilson- Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Department of Defense
William Woolston- Staff Economist, Council of Economic Advisers *
The first paragraph of today’s New York Times article by Charlie Savage:
The 48 Guantánamo Bay detainees whom the Obama administration has decided to keep holding without trial include several for whom there is no evidence of involvement in any specific terrorist plot, according to a report disclosed Friday.
The Report itself, in a matter-of-fact-tone, describes the individuals to be kept in a cage indefinitely without charges this way:
They can’t even be prosecuted in the due-process-abridging military commissions we invented out of whole cloth for those who can’t be convicted in a real court. In other words: of course we’ll provide a fair tribunal for proving your guilt — as long as we’re certain we can convict you — otherwise, we’ll just imprison you indefinitely without charges.
A team of top federal prosecutors and investigators has taken the first steps toward a formal criminal investigation into oil giant BP’s actions before and after the drilling rig disaster off Louisiana.
The investigators, who have been quietly gathering evidence in Louisiana over the last three weeks, are focusing on whether BP skirted federal safety regulations and misled the U.S. government by saying it could quickly clean up an environmental accident.
The team has met with U.S. attorneys and state officials in the Gulf Coast region and has sent letters to executives of BP and Transocean Ltd., the drilling rig owner, warning them against destroying documents or other internal records.
Underscoring the gravity of the inquiry, the team is headed by Assistant Atty. Gen. Ignacia Moreno of the environment and natural resources division and Assistant Atty. Gen. Tony West, who heads the Justice Department’s civil division.
The World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park will be expanded to include thousands of hectares of ecologically sensitive land that has uranium worth billions of dollars.
Aboriginal traditional owner Jeffrey Lee has offered the land to the federal government so it can become part of Kakadu, where he works as a ranger.
Mr Lee, the sole member of the Djok clan and senior custodian of the land known as Koongarra, could have become one of Australia’s richest men if he had allowed the French energy giant Areva to extract 14,000 tonnes of uranium from its mineral lease in the area.
Mr Lee is an extremely shy and humble man who shuns publicity. “I’m not interested in money. I’ve got a job. I can buy tucker; I can go fishing and hunting. That’s all that matters to me,” he told The Age in a rare interview in 2007.
Perhaps you saw news footage of President Obama in Grand Isle, La., on Friday and thought things didn’t look all that bad. Well, there may have been a reason for that: The town was evidently swarmed by an army of temp workers to spruce it up for the president and the national news crews following him.
Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts, whose district encompasses Grand Isle, told Yahoo! News that BP bused in “hundreds” of temporary workers to clean up local beaches. And as soon as the president was en route back to Washington, the workers were clearing out of Grand Isle too, Roberts said.
“The level of cleanup and cooperation we’ve gotten from BP in the past is in no way consistent to the effort shown on the island today,” Roberts said by telephone. “As soon as the president left, they were immediately put back on the buses and sent home.”
Roberts says the overnight contingent of workers was there mainly to furnish a Potemkin-style backdrop for the event — while also making it appear that BP was firmly in command of spill cleanup efforts.
President Obama uttered three words on Thursday that many of his 43 predecessors twisted themselves into knots trying with varying degrees of success to avoid: “I was wrong.”
Apparently, this video from Google is serious:
I think I prefer the reply from Opera:
The Ebola virus first emerged in 1976, striking fear with the uncontrollable bleeding it causes and mortality rates up to 90 percent. Ever since then, scientists have been struggling to find a way to treat the infection or protect against it.
There has been progress, but nothing quite like the report in the May 28 issue of the scientific journal The Lancet. A team led by Thomas Geisbert of Boston University has used an experimental drug to protect monkeys from death after injecting them with massive doses of the most lethal strain of Ebola.
“We were stunned,” Geisbert says. “I’ve been working with this virus for my whole career — 23 or 24 years, and we’ve had some mild successes where maybe we could go up to 50 percent protection,” he said. “But I was really shocked that we got complete protection.”
[insert SkyNet joke here]
“When I came to Afghanistan, I expected to find many strange and unusual sights,” the paper’s reporter penned. “A gunnery sergeant with a tattoo of Sarah Palin on his buttocks wasn’t one of them.”
Marine scientists have discovered a massive new plume of what they believe to be oil deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico, stretching 22 miles (35 kilometers) from the leaking wellhead northeast toward Mobile Bay, Alabama.
The discovery by researchers on the University of South Florida College of Marine Science’s Weatherbird II vessel is the second significant undersea plume recorded since the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20.
The thick plume was detected just beneath the surface down to about 3,300 feet (1,000 meters), and is more than 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) wide, said David Hollander, associate professor of chemical oceanography at the school.